Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

nystateofhealth.ny.gov

Governor Cuomo’s health department is analyzing the plan in the Republican Congress to overhaul Obama care, and finds it carries a heavy price tag for New York.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Thursday marked the first day on the job for Jaime Alicea as the new superintendent of the Syracuse city schools.   The Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday night to remove the word “interim” from his title.

Alicea says he never thought he’d become superintendent when the Puerto Rican native  began as a kindergarten teaching assistant at Seymour Elementary in 1983.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney used the occasion of her 10th state of the county address Tuesday evening to calm some of what she called the “fearmongering” over the Consensus Commission’s recommendations to modernize local government. 

"There is not a single thing written in the Consensus report that will spell disaster for anyone."

Such has been the rhetoric from the mayor to the county legislature over the main recommendation to combine Syracuse and Onondaga County.

Onondaga County Lawmakers approved the sale of “Lot 17” today, which is perhaps better known as the parking lot used for the Oncenter downtown. The law approved the sale of the nearly three acre lot to the local developer PEMCO for $2.5 million.  Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon said the developer plans to build a $135 million complex, including student housing, restaurants and retail space.

twitter.com @RepJohnKatko

Congressmember John Katko is weighing in on issues ranging from wiretaps to town hall meetings as the Trump Administration and Congress continue their rocky start.  As we’ve heard, President Trump has accused former President Obama of wiretapping phones in trump tower before the election.  While Trump has offered no proof, Katko says as a former federal prosecutor, he knows it shouldn’t be too hard to find out.

Congressmember John Katko hosted a roundtable discussion with health care providers Monday to find out the potential pros and cons of the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.  But Katko doesn’t appear ready to support any plan just yet.

Katko says all the major hospitals in the 24th District were represented at today’s meeting at Saint Joseph’s hospital. He says the biggest concerns revolved around potential cuts to Medicaid and what it might mean for hospital budgets… and patients.

cdc.gov

The recent occasional warm spells we’ve seen in Central New York not only get people outside to enjoy the weather, but also ticks.  Nick Piedmonte has conducted extensive research on ticks, specifically the prevalent Blacklegged or deer tick found in this region. 

Dozens Gather to Remember Those With Disabilities Killed by Their Caregivers

Mar 1, 2017
ASAN-Vancouver / Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

About 45 people gathered in Goldstein Auditorium on the Syracuse University Campus Wednesday afternoon to remember the lives of people with disabilities that were cut short by their caregivers.  They took part in Freshman Priya Penner helped to organize the vigil to commemorate the Disability Day of Mourning.

“This is wrong.  It's not OK to murder anybody, but especially people with disabilities, because I guess we are viewed as less than, because we are viewed as.. I don't even know. I don't understand, honestly, why people think this is ok.” 

Maxwell Alumni Blog

The Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University is concerned that President Trump’s proposal to increase military funding by $54 billion hasn’t been carefully thought out.  Federal programs like the EPA, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid could see drastic cuts in order to give more money to the military. Bill Smullen, at SU’s Maxwell School, said Trump’s priorities seem to conflict with that of his own Secretary of Defense and former Marine Corps General James Mattis.

Provided photo / Bonnie Russell, West Genesee Schools

The Superintendent of West Genesee Schools says the number of overdoses and deaths from the heroin and opioid epidemic has recently climbed back up in the community after a noticeable drop last year.   Dr. Christopher Brown hopes the help offered at Monday evening's addiction, recovery, and resource  can bring crime and addiction rates down.

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